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Thread: Games for the IBM 5155 portable (or XT desktop)

  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixter View Post
    Yeah, it's a shame the Adlib is so slow. It was originally designed and marketed as a music card, not a general-purpose gaming card, so they didn't take great pains to optimize writes to the card. When I wrote an adlib player I was astonished to see how much time was spent waiting for the card. When I moved that player to 8088 I took out all the wait delays and it STILL took too much time for the card to respond to a single port write.

    You can drive an Adlib at 60+ Hz (by "drive" I mean "update all 9 voices' registers") but on 8088 you'll have very little time left over. Most games drive the adlib at 30Hz or slower. The only game I know of that drives it faster is Lollypop (http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/lollypop) which drives it at 70Hz which, along with the graphics, requires a 386. (There's a good reason for that, the music and sound effects were done by Vibrants and it is hands-down the very best Adlib programming I have ever heard, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Vh4wnHCeNI if you want to hear a sample)
    How do you reconcile that with this : http://www.mobygames.com/game/windwalker/trivia
    My Retro Computing and Vintage Gaming Blog : http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/

  2. #52
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    I think the trivia is factually correct (Adlib's behavior and recommendations) but incorrectly implies why Windwalker's adlib support is so buggy. I personally think it's because they screwed something up, or followed odd practices (like trying to send multiple data commands after a register command, when you should really be sending a register, then wait, then data, then wait again).

    If it really bugs you, I'd be willing to disassemble Windwalker to see what they're doing, and compare it to Adlib best practices.

    Side note, I'd forgotten about that trivia -- I "interviewed" lots of people when I was starting up MobyGames, trying to get interesting tidbits. I talked to the lead programmer for the DOS Silpheed conversion, Michael Berlyn, Tony Van, and others. I had a full page of notes from the guy who patented RealSound that I unfortunately lost

  3. #53

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    Display and clarity of the 5155 (well Compaq as well, it wasn't just an IBM compliment) was still impressive. That was one thing that I noted having Commodores portable next to the 5155 and Compaq Portable. While the graphics and sounds the Commodore make are like a portable arcade (fun for everyone to even just listen to) you could see how the crisp display on the x86 line was much better at text. The Commodore font is quite blocky. I'm not sure I've ever really used any text only applications on the Commodore to see how crisp it could be (80 column mode?) but you could certainly have a sense of the sturdiness and which one you might look at for business vs home, kids, and pleasure. Both had their perks. I honestly wouldn't want to use the Commodore for business/productive applications but that's just my own experience.
    Looking to acquire: IBM 5100, Altair 8800

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixter View Post
    I talked to the lead programmer for the DOS Silpheed conversion, Michael Berlyn, Tony Van, and others. I had a full page of notes from the guy who patented RealSound that I unfortunately lost
    DOS conversion? You're speaking about the Game Arts/Sierra Silpheed release? I guess I was under the impression that Game Arts did the game and conversion, and that Sierra just acted as the publishing house in the US. I should probably pay more attention to the credits in the manuals (I'm notoriously bad for not looking at such things, nor for researching them online)
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  5. #55
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    Game Arts developed the game, but they did not do the DOS conversion. Silpheed was converted by two Sierra employees. The development machine was an 8MHz 286 with EGA (and unfortunately that's all I can remember from the interview as I seem to have lost those notes as well

  6. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixter View Post
    Game Arts developed the game, but they did not do the DOS conversion. Silpheed was converted by two Sierra employees. The development machine was an 8MHz 286 with EGA (and unfortunately that's all I can remember from the interview as I seem to have lost those notes as well
    Pity - could've been an interesting read.... Silpheed and Thexder always had me wondering why they came up with such a quirky EGA color-dithering scheme at 640x200, only to thoroughly waste its potential by using just 4 or 5 colors at a time. I thought Thexder's Tandy mode looked a whole lot better (let alone MCGA)!

    and since this is still on-topic, sort of: do you happen to know if Master Miner has been archived anywhere? I ask since those box shots on MG have your name on them, and even after M.U.L.E.'s recent rescue mission, other beasts like this one remain elusive.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by el_VR View Post
    Pity - could've been an interesting read.... Silpheed and Thexder always had me wondering why they came up with such a quirky EGA color-dithering scheme at 640x200, only to thoroughly waste its potential by using just 4 or 5 colors at a time. I thought Thexder's Tandy mode looked a whole lot better (let alone MCGA)!
    They didn't come up with it, the original developers did. The original hardware Silpheed and Thexder were programmed for was the PC-8801, whose most popular video mode was 640x200 in 8 colors. The EGS 640x200 mode is faithful to the original game (and I like it, some of the corners are rounded better due to the higher horizontal resolution).

    and since this is still on-topic, sort of: do you happen to know if Master Miner has been archived anywhere? I ask since those box shots on MG have your name on them, and even after M.U.L.E.'s recent rescue mission, other beasts like this one remain elusive.
    The cover was sent to me by Mike Abrash (or maybe Dan Illowsky, I don't recall as it was 13 years ago), but not the software, sorry. It remains unreleased "in the wild".

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